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André 3000 Is More Than Just a Creative, He’s a $35M Businessman

During the 1995 Source Awards, following Outkast’s win for Best New Artist(s) of the Year, André 3000, a founding member of the group, boldly proclaimed into the mic, “The South has something to say.”  And André 3000 has been saying a lot ever since — now communicating with his flute — more than lyrics.

That acceptance speech was a pivotal moment for the then-20-year-old, staking his claim in an industry that had predominately focused on the East Coast and the West Coast.

Andre 3000
photo via Instagram @andre3000

Making Money His Way

Almost 30 years later, his unique style of emceeing and ability to create demand by only working on a few select projects in music, fashion, film, and other entrepreneurial enterprises have resulted in the East Point, Georgia, native amassing an estimated net worth of $35 million.

Three Stacks and his partner Big Boi dominated the rap world from the very start. The suburban Atlanta duo could not be more different. Big Boi was shorter, more stout and whose style appeared to be rooted in street life, while 3000, whose real name is André Benjamin, was slender and more eclectic, instantly spitting lyrics that seemed to mesmerize critics who lauded his unparalleled creativity and artistry.

The two were the first rap act to be signed to LaFace Records. Their debut album, “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” sold 1 million units after its 1994 release.

The next album, “ATLien,” released in 1996, dodged the sophomore jinx and was even more successful, selling over 2 million units. “Aquemini,” Outkast’s third offering and third best-selling album also sold 2 million units, solidifying the group as one of the consistent rap groups ever.

It was their 2000 album “Stankonia” and their 2003 release “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” that catapulted them to superstardom, etching their names indelibly in the annals of music history. “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” achieved monumental success, solidifying its status as the best-selling rap album of all time in 2023.

Certified 13-time platinum with over 13 million units sold in the United States alone, according to The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), this unparalleled achievement underscores Outkast’s enduring influence and unparalleled impact on the genre.

This achievement knocked Eminem’s “The Eminem Show,” an album that went 12-time platinum in 2022 out of the speaker box.

Notably, Rolling Stone likened André to “an indie-rock Little Richard” in recognition of his electrifying performance on the hit single “Hey Ya!”

Although precise figures regarding individual earnings from the sale of 19,591,480 physical albums are not available, it’s essential to note that two rappers who write their own lyrics reap substantial benefits from publishing on the composition side. In this scenario, the songwriting credits are typically shared between the emcees, ensuring a fair distribution of royalties. These are called song splits.

Additionally, on the sound recording side, artists share a percentage with the producer(s). This is how publishing is “split” from the master of the recording.

Throughout his career, André 3000 has amassed an illustrious collection of awards, including an impressive array of seven Grammy Awards, reaffirming his indelible mark on the hip-hop landscape.

After seeming to make his mark on music, he and his partner turned their sights to Hollywood. In 2006, Outkast produced a film titled “Idlewild.” Set against the backdrop of the 1930s, this musical showcased the duo’s multifaceted talents and yielded an accompanying soundtrack album that further shared with the world their creative genius.

The movie made $5.7 million the first week of its release and only stayed in the theaters from Aug. 25, 2006 to Oct. 5, 2006. By the end of its run, the movie had made $12.6 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

The acting bug also bit André and he has acquired a few acting roles. Notable TV roles include appearances in “The Shield” and “Families.” In film, he has starred in productions like “Be Cool,” “Revolver,” “Semi Pro,” and “Four Brothers,” as well as a leading role in Outkast’s film “Idlewild.”

He starred in a movie titled “Battle in Seattle” and later portrayed Jimi Hendrix in “All Is By My Side.” However, his most dramatic roles were opposite Regina King in the series “American Crime” and in “Dispatches From Elsewhere” on AMC.

Additionally, he’s a respected voice actor, notably voicing Sunny Bridges in the animated series “Class of 3000,” which he also produced on Boomerang.

Alongside his acting, he also explored fashion, launching his own fashion line called Benjamin Bixby in 2008.

The more successful André 3000 became, the more he stayed away from the spotlight.

Occasionally, the rapper has collaborated on tracks with artists such as Lil Wayne, Frank Ocean, Jay-Z, and Drake.

Then suddenly, in 2018, he released a solo project on his SoundCloud account, a platform known for prioritizing music distribution over profit. The initial release was “Me&My (To Bury Your Parents),” followed by a 16-minute instrumental track.

In 2023, he captivated the world with an instrumental album, where his playing the flute, titled “New Blue Sun.”

Billboard states that the first song in the album, “I Swear, I Really Wanted to Make a ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally the Way the Wind Blew Me This Time” is the longest-running song to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart at 12 minutes and 20 seconds.

When it released it placed No. 1 on Billboard’s New Age Albums chart with around 24,000 equivalent album units.

While supremely artistic, he also is a brilliant businessman. As people ridiculed the instrumental project, he laughed with them all the way to the bank.

He turned skeptics into spectators as he capitalized on its success. His partnership with IMAX is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit. André 3000 hosted a one-night-only cinematic IMAX listening experience on Jan. 23. The event took place in over 25 theaters across the country, showcasing André 3000’s innovative approach to engaging audiences and pushing creative boundaries.

The sold-out effort, which cost fans $35 per seat, also launched his small set club tour. Those tickets started at $150.

The artist is only starting — promising to blow fans minds with his next project. Who knows which way he will go, but trust that it will be cutting edge and make him a lot of money.

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